When Mark Mays stepped down last season due to health reasons, Corey Steinke finished out the season at the helm of the Bethel girls’ basketball program. He loved what he saw from the players in the program, and he wanted to come back when the Bees named an official coach this upcoming season.

Consider it official.

Steinke, who will be teaching Phys Ed at the school, has been officially been named the varsity girls basketball coach for the Bees when the season tips off in November, as the Bees look to contend in the Cross County Conference.

“It is a great step forward for us, and the girls have been working hard so far,” Steinke said. “We accomplished a lot toward the end of the season last year. We didn’t accomplish the wins we wanted, but the figured me out and figured out a new system we are going to be running this year.”

“We have had 20-25 kids strong regularly at open gyms, conditioning and lifting so we are taking things in steps and going from there.”

Steinke has already implemented some new things in their system, expecting the kids to adjust and make a solid improvement this season.

“We will be more of an uptempo team, we have the ability to get out and run and to get the ball in the post,” he added. “we have five 6-footers in our program right now, and two in junior high program so Bethel basketball is changing.”

With the new responsibility of running this program, Steinke is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

“I came from the (Dayton) city, and was a coach there at Ponitz for six years, and I wanted to move my family out to a community that was a lot like mine, I grew up in a small town Montpelier, Ohio and wanted to bring Bethel tradition back.”

“While teaching out here, I had the chance to talk to the girls and found out that they had a passion for the game, and I told them I wanted to be here to put my mark on something.”

“People put Bethel down with talent and athletic ability....well it is here. It is just a matter of getting out of them.”

While the talent is here now, he admits the future kids will also be a major factor in the success of the program.

“The young kids are the future here, and as far as I am concerned, I think we have the best freshman class in the area,” Steinke said. “I would put them up against anyone.”

Steinke began his coaching career AAU basketball and then started at the Fairview Middle School in Dayton when he began teaching. On his first team, he coached Norris Cole, Dequan Cook and Aaron Pogue, all who went into the NBA.

“That was my first coaching experience, but I didn’t have to do much with that group,” he laughed. “From there he won three city titles as Residence Park Junior High before moving over to Ponitz High School, where he became the school’s all-time winningest coach.